Samajwadi Party activists shouting slogan while stopping a train during the opposition-sponsored 'Bharat bandh' to protest over FDI in multi-brand retail and increase in diesel prices, in Allahabad.
Bandh Against Diesel Hike, FDI Evokes Mixed Response
A bandh called by NDA, Left parties and SP to protest against diesel price hike, FDI in multi-brand retail and cap on subsidised LPG today evoked mixed response as protestors disrupted road and rail traffic in parts of UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha but it had little impact in Mumbai.
The bandh affected services of more than 200 trains across the country.
"Services of 238 trains were disrupted due to the Bharat bandh," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Here is how the bandh hit various states and cities in the country.
Delhi saw a mixed response to Bharat bandh today as some markets remained closed while movement of vehicular traffic was normal though protesters blocked traffic in some areas.
Private schools, shops and businesses establishments were shut in a number of areas, while government-run schools, colleges, offices and banks and Delhi Metro functioned normally.
Big markets like Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Pahar Ganj remained closed throughout the day while shops and business establishments in Connaught Place, Bhogal, Laxmi Nagar, Defence Colony and South Extension were open.
Morning commuters were left stranded at number of places including Vikas Marg, ITO and Chandni Chowk as protesters blocked traffic, marched through the roads and burnt effigies of UPA government.
Delhi Transport Corporation buses operated normally, while a number of auto rickshaw unions supported the bandh but the impact on the road was not visible.
BJP organised protests in number of areas in the city while top leaders of Samajwadi Party, Left parties and NDA constituents descended on Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi.
Left leaders Prakash Karat, A B Bardhan, Sitaram Yechury, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, TDP's Chandrababu Naidu, JD-S chief H D Deve Gowda courted arrest after holding a joint demonstration at Jantar Mantar. BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Murli Manohar Joshi also addressed a gathering.
While Delhi BJP claimed that bandh evoked "total support", Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said it did not have any impact in the city and expressed her gratitude to all Delhiites for ensuring normal situation in the city.
"People of Delhi are mature enough to understand the ill effects of bandh. They are not at all interested in creating any such situation leading to disturbance in law and order and normalcy," she said.
A group of BJP workers tried to march
towards Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence but they were detained
No untoward incident has been reported from any
part of the city as large number of police personnel were deployed in
all vulnerable areas.
Protestors stopped trains in Mathura, Agra, Varanasi, Allahabad and
Lucknow as part of their stir while BJP workers and traders blocked the
Agra-Gwalior Highway by burning tyres.
Major markets remained closed at a number of places in UP, including the state capital, official sources said here. Several prominent schools remained closed as a precautionary measure in the city.
Lucknow, BJP's former national president Rajnath Singh led the protest,
whereas national vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was leading the
protest in Kanpur.
Reports of similar protests also poured in
from other districts including Allahabad where activists of the youth
wing of the ruling SP stopped the Bareilly-bound Triveni Express at 5.30 am on Niranjan railway bridge.
They protesters assembled in
large numbers along the railway tracks and also burnt the effigies of
the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The agitation delayed the onward journey of the train by an hour.
Speaking to reporters at the protest in Kanpur, Naqvi slammed UPA for its decision to bring FDI and said the government was surviving on the 'dialysis of dollar'.
The BJP leader said while last Friday was the 'Big Bang Friday' for UPA, tomorrow will prove to be 'bad friday' since their allies will withdraw support while referring to Trinamool Congress' decision to pull out from the coalition on the FDI decision.
"I am confident BJP will form the next government and when it does the party will immediately scrap the policy and will throw out the foreign investors from the country," he said.
Targeting Rahul Gandhi, Naqvi said the Congress General Secretary has yet again remained mum on a crucial subject like FDI as he has done in the past over 2G or coal scam.
Life in the Kolkata and elsewhere in West Bengal was disrupted due to the 12-hour bandh called by Left parties. Though airport services were normal, train services in Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway were disrupted, officials said.
Howrah-Pune Duranto Express, which started from Howrah on time, was stopped by the squatters here, railway sources said. Services of the Metro rail, Kolkata's lifeline, were normal, officials said.
Airport sources said the flight operations were normal in Kolkata airport, except cancellation of two Indigo flights - Kolkata-New Delhi and Kolkata-Agartala which were scheduled to fly in the morning.
The bandh evoked little response in Mumbai owing to Ganesh festivities across Maharashtra. Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have kept away from the day-long bandh due to the festival.
Life in the major cities was affected due to the bandh. Educational institutions, retail shops, malls, industrial units, banking operations and even transport almost came to a standstill in Ahmedabad.
The commercial business hubs of the city like CG Road and SG Road wore a deserted look. Hundreds of BJP workers came out on the streets to enforce the bandh.
Transport operations of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) were suspended. BJP workers also tried to halt rail traffic on the Mumbai and Delhi routes.
Normal life was affected in Manipur as markets, business establishments, educational institutions and entertainment houses remained closed while attendance in government offices was almost nil, reports said.
Buses, taxis and private vehicles were off the roads as also transport services between Manipur and neighbouring states, the reports said.
The strike also affected normal life at all district headquarters. Security measures were in place at all vulnerable areas in the state capital complex.
The nation wide bandh today affected normal life in Jharkhand.
Over 5,000 activists and leaders of different political parties, including ruling BJP, courted arrest during the strike, police sources said.
The strike passed off peacefully and the arrested people were let off later during the day, the sources said.
According to reports, educational institutions, banks, shops and big business establishments remained closed while truckers stayed off the road, affecting work at public and private sector companies.
Slogan-shouting bandh supporters squatted on railway tracks in Koderma, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and other places disrupting train services, sources in the railways said.
Chairman of Jharkhand Truck Owners' Association Uday Shankar Ojha said the association’s protest would continue till midnight tonight to protest diesel hike and 50,000 trucks have kept off the roads.
Reports of bandh evoking a good response were received from all the divisions except Bhopal which was spared from it in view of the visit of Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigmi Yoezer Thinley, who arrived in the state capital today for taking part in the foundation laying ceremony of International Buddhist University at Sanchi. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is also arriving for the same programme tomorrow.
The bandh was totally successful in Gwalior, Ujjain, Jabalpur and Indore divisions of the state where no major untoward incident was reported.
Educational institutions, markets and commercial establishments remained closed in all these divisions while most of the state transport buses also were off roads. In Indore, BJP workers were seen asking shopkeepers to down shutters in many areas.
During the protest, BJP activists shouted anti-government slogans demanding rollback of diesel price hike and capping the number of subsidised LPG cylinders.
The Bharat Bandh witnessed protest rallies and road blockades across Andhra Pradesh.
The call had little impact in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, while it evoked mixed response in Visakhapatnam and other districts.
Those who were held by police in the state capital included senior BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu, Shahnawaz Hussain, Bandaru Dattareya and state BJP chief B Kishan Reddy, CPI(M) state secretary B V Raghavulu, CPI state secretary K Narayana and leaders of TDP.
Hyderabad Police took as many as 975 political workers into preventive custody.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) cancelled 15 per cent of bus services across the state, while the trains ran normally, officials said.
Several educational institutions, shops and business establishments in the city and districts remained closed.
However, it was business as usual for IT industry in the state, an office-bearer of IT and ITES Industries Association of Andhra Pradesh told.
In Hyderabad, protesters took out motorcycle processions and staged blockades near Secretariat and Assembly complexes, and also in the areas including L B Nagar, Dilsukh Nagar, Jeedimetla, Secunderabad, RTC Cross Roads. Some protesters cooked food on roads, to protest LPG-cap decision.
In Visakhapatnam, the Bandh passed off peacefully. As many as 100 agitators who tried to obstruct traffic in front of bus depots were taken into preventive custody.
Eight BJP workers were arrested for smashing glass panes of a city bus at Gajuwaka. Some of the commercial establishments, including shops and hotels, downed their shutters 'voluntarily'.
Government and private schools had declared holidays. The Andhra University had postponed all the exams scheduled for today.
However, the state and central government offices, public sector undertakings including Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels Limited, Hindustan Shipyard, Dredging Corporation of India operated as usual.
The bandh evoked mixed response in districts of Kadapa, Kurnool, Srikakulam, Karimnagar, Krishna, Anantapur, Adilabad, Mahbubnagar, among others.
Public transport services were hit with state transport undertakings suspending their long route services to Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh as a precautionary measure.
"We have suspended our inter-state bus services from 8 am onwards in order to prevent any damage during protests. However, city bus services are operational," a senior official of Chandigarh Transport Department said here today.
However, a senior official of Haryana Transport department said, "Transport services in Haryana were absolutely normal so far," adding, bus services to Punjab have been suspended.
Many private schools in Chandigarh were closed today in the wake of bandh call. However, shops and commercial establishments in Chandigarh were functional.
Railway services in Punjab were normal, DRM Ferozepur Division, N C Goel said. Flights to various destinations from here operated on schedule.
The impact of bandh was visible in several places including Amritsar, Jalandhar, Batala, Ludhiana, Mahendergarh and Ambala where majority of trading establishments were closed.
Jammu and Kashmir
BJP and CPI-M held demonstrations in various districts. BJP workers burnt effigies of the UPA. Over 300 BJP workers, led by state president Shamsher Singh Manhas, took out rally in this city, raising anti-government slogans.
In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir unit of CPI(M) led by state secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami assembled in Pratap Park and took out a peaceful rally, police said.
All business establishments and other commercial activities were closed in this city and traffic was off the roads. Most of the private schools were closed and most of the government offices were hit by the shutdown as there was very thin attendance in offices, police said.
The workers of BJP, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and Left parties forced closure of shops and commercial establishments in Raipur. The protesters shouting slogans against the UPA government also forced Walmart's 'Best Price' market to close down here.
The buses were off roads all over the state while there were reports of protesters trying to stop trains at certain places thus posing problems for the commuters.
In Raipur, the BJP and Left activists appealed to the businessman to keep their establishments closed. Educational institutions, cinema halls and malls also remained close in Raipur though essential services were kept out of the bandh.
Raipur SSP Deepanshu Kabra said police force has been deployed all over to prevent any untoward incident, though none was reported so far.
The Bharat bandh called by the BJP and other opposition parties affected normal life in Meghalaya.
Banks and financial institutions, shops and market places remained closed while government offices and few educational institutions which were open, registered negligible attendance, especially in the state capital.
Meghalaya unit BJP general secretary Dipayan Chakraborty and 26 other party volunteers were detained in the morning and let off in the afternoon while the Meghalaya Joint Council of Trade Unions and Associations staged protest demonstration.
BJP’s national executive committee member Nalin S Kohli said that the party is keen at contesting in the 60 Assembly seats in the state.
In state capital Itanagar and its adjoining areas, markets, shops, educational institutions, banks and private offices remained closed, while all sort of private and public vehicles were off the roads, police said.
However, the government-run ones were seen on the road with security. Attendances in government offices were recorded thin.
Normal life was affected in Odisha, barring the western region, due to disruption in train and road traffic during the bandh called separately by BJP and Left parties.
While state government offices, banks and insurance services remained closed on the occasion of "Nuakhai", a major festival of western districts of the state, organisers of the dawn-to-dusk shut-down have kept the celebrations out of the purview of the protest.
Around 20 lakh commercial establishments and shops downed their shutters as part of the protest.
BJP's state unit president Pon Radhakrishnan and party's senior leader Muralidhar Rao, CPI-M rpt CPI-M state secretary G Ramakrishnan and AIFB leader Debabrata Biswas were among the leaders who were detained for staging road and rail roko in Chennai.
Thousands of workers belonging to these parties besides local outfits were also detained across the state,police said. Autos affiliated to Left unions kept off the roads while public transport services were operated as per schedule.
Schools and educational institutions remained open even as Ramakrishnan claimed that many college students also joined their protest.
The bandh affected normal life as shops and offices chose to remain shut. Only essential commodities like milk and medical services are available but all schools and colleges were closed.
Bangalore, where many IT and BT companies are situated, wore a deserted look. The IT companies had deployed Central Security Force personnel to man important infrastructure on their campuses.
Normal life was affected as private operators and public transport system including state run buses remained off the roads. No untoward incidents were reported, police said.
The nationwide bandh called by NDA, Left parties and SP today evoked good response and hit normal life in parts of Rajasthan, as BJP termed the shutdown as "unprecedented".
Majority of markets and petrol pumps remained closed, and public transport was hit partially as many private buses and autorickshaws remained off the road.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar led his party members at Badi Chaupad in Jaipur in the demonstration against the UPA government's recent decisions.
While markets remained partially closed, the private buses remained off roads since morning.
The bus stands wore a deserted look, but the markets registered considerable presence of the people. With Ganesh Chaturthi, the biggest festival of the state, commencing yesterday, the people were seen buying commodities required for celebrations.
There was no untoward incident reported as bandh was not forced either by NDA or Left parties.
The state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTCL) was plying its buses on the regular routes.
The bandh failed to evoke any response in Sikkim today. Schools and colleges in the state remianed open and vehicles were seen plying as usual on the roads, officials said. Government offices, banks and markets are also open, they said.
Markets, shops, educational institutions, banks and private offices remained closed across the state, while long distance private buses and other vehicles kept off the roads, official sources said. Government-run buses were seen on the city roads but privately operated city buses did not ply.
Picketers, led by former CPM MLA Ananta Deka, blocked the railway tracks at Rangia in lower Assam's Kamrup (Rural) district delaying the Delhi-bound North East Express and Brahmaputra Mail, they said.
After the tracks were cleared with the arrest of over 50 protesters, the two down trains controlled at Baihata and Guwahati respectively left for their destinations. Other trains and flights, however, operated normally, the sources said, adding there was no report of any untoward incident.
In Guwahati, BJP national vice president Bijoya Chakraborty along with her party supporters was out on the main roads requesting the people to ensure success of the bandh.
Shutters of shops were down as markets remained closed and vehicles remained off the roads. Schools, colleges and educational institutions were also closed and no attendance was registered in government offices including Civil Secretariat, officials said.
Train services were affected due to picketing at the railway stations by the activists and supporters of ruling CPI-M, the sources said.
Most of the shops, commercial outlets and schools remained closed in Dehradun and other major towns and cities of the state with the BJP and other parties' workers holding protest marches and burning effigies of the central government on the issues.
The nation-wide bandh to protest fuel hike and FDI in retail evoked mixed response in Himachal Pradesh, barring brief road blockades at some places by CPI(M) activists.
The bandh was almost complete in Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur, Hamirpur, Una, Mandi, Kullu and others places and most of the shops remained closed but road and rail traffic was normal throughout the state. The bandh passed off peacefully with no untoward incident reported from any parts of the state.
The bandh evoked sharp response in Bihar as train and vehicular traffic remained paralysed for better part of the day.
Train services in particular bore brunt of stir as about 77 trains were stopped by the bandh supporters at various places in Bihar, including Patna, a railway official said.
The Rajdhani Express and some other long distance trains were halted by the protesters at Patna Junction and elsewhere in the state, he said.
Bandh supporters also disrupted vehicular traffic on the roads and highways to bring normal life to grinding halt.
The protesters also forced closure of market places at some places. Schools and and colleges too remained closed due to shortage of vehicles on the road.
Judicial works in various courts too were adversely affected by the bandh as the lawyers and employees could not reach their work places due to paucity of vehicles.
In Patna, senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad led bicycle march by his party leaders and workers to protest the UPA government's economic policies and later courted arrest near the busy Dak Bungalow roundabout.
In all about 5000 protesters from 26 districts were taken into preventive custody across the state, ADGP (Law and Order) S.K. Bharadwaj said.
There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the state, he said.
Describing the nationwide bandh as an "unprecedented" success, BJP claimed the UPA government has been reduced to minority after the Samajwadi Party, an outside supporter of Congress-led coalition, joined the bandh with its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav courting arrest.
"The spontaneous stir has reminded us the memories of movement led by Jai Prakash Narayan in 1970s," BJP national spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters.
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